1) Wild: Michael Nichols | Philadelphia Museum of Art As an award winning photographer for National Geographic, Micheal "Nick" Nichols has traveled to some of the most remote areas on the planet, innovating the way photographers capture nature. His technical advancements on the medium have provided the world with some of the most intimate images of wildlife. Through research and time, Nichols set up his photography within frequented areas by strategically placing his camera, which was then set to automatically and continuously shoot. This resulted in a trial and error type of work, with lots of error and frustration. The successful images however, are consequently vibrant, intense, and revealing. The exhibition highlights some of Nichols major projects and accomplishments, including his vast work in the preservation of these environments.
Michael Nichols, Gray Langurs, Bandhavgarh National Park, India, 1996. Courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Sarah Lucas, Realidad, 2012. Courtesy of Legion of Honor.
2) Sarah Lucas: Good Muse | Legion of Honor A large player in the 1990's who infamously incorporates bawdy humor and visual puns within her work, Sarah Lucas, has never been one to shy away from concepts of gender or sexuality. The Legion of Honor is thus referring to Lucas's work as an example of contemporary sculpture in conjunction with their already esteemed collection of Rodin sculptures. This venerable juxtaposition of these two artists showcases Lucas's examinations of sexual ambiguity and her debunking of stereotypical ideas of gender through crude materials. Consequently creating an environment in which Rodin's more classic work is reinterpreted. Vastly different aesthetically, the similarities rest in the emotional content, and viewing each artists' individual take truly showcases this underlying common thread.
3) The Horizontal | Cheim and Read A group exhibition inspired by the horizon line, and more specifically from a quote by Agnes Martin discussing her work, "Anyone who can sit on a stone in a field awhile can see my painting. Nature is like parting a curtain you can go into...as you would cross an empty beach to look at the ocean". 21 artists ranging from established modern masters to emerging contemporaries, exhibit mostly abstract work centered around the horizon line. Examining a variety of subject matters, these artists individually explore nature, emotions, and politics. The viewer is able to visually see this content through the passing of time; its similarities and its evolution, as it relates to the horizon line. Although Agnes Martin is the touchstone of the exhibition, it features work from Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer, Sean Scully, Richard Serra, Matthew Wong, Jack Pierson, Serge Poliakoff, and Ellsworth Kelly.
Serge Poliakoff, Bandes Colorees, 1937. Courtesy of Cheim and Read.
Picasso sporting a bull's head, 1959. Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.
4) Picasso: Minotaurs and Matadors | Gagosian Gallery Steeped in his Spanish history, this exhibition presents a specific look at Picasso's lifelong interest in bullfighting and matadors, and the resulting imagery seen throughout his work. Inspired by the traditional material from his culture, Picasso's use of the sport took on a Surrealist visual that symbolically related to mythical stories such as the Minotaur. This fusion of content went on to stem illustrated books, poetry, sculpture, set design, and costumes, as well as masterpieces such as Guernica (1937). Examining this inspired period of Picasso's work provides a specific narrative in which scholars can traverse along the entirety of Picasso's long career. The exhibition features paintings as well as drawings, sculptures, and a short film of his own making. This exhibition provides the perspective that Picasso's heritage, as much as his travels, was the groundwork for his success.
5) Fahrelnissa Zeid | Tate Modern Monumental and attention possessing, internationally acclaimed artist, Fahrelnissa Zeid is finally getting the recognition she deserves. As a central figure in both the Turkish avant garde D Group in the early 1940s and the School of Paris in the 1950s, her mesmerizing abstract works are a mixture of Persian, Byzantine, and Islamic influence. In her first major retrospective, the Tate Modern focuses on her vibrant lines and use of color, highlighting her stained glass like abstraction as well as her figurative pieces from later on in her career. A world traveler with a vast list of influences, Zeid is not only considered one of the leading female artists of the 20th century, but this revival of her stylized paintings are gaining a new kind of financial momentum in the art market. This retrospective highlights Zeid's life's work, but also helps introduce the world to an artist who had a truly fascinating life.
Fahrelnissa Zeid, Untitled, 1950's. Courtesy of Tate Modern.